Inkshedding selections - Session 4

On Marcy Bauman's "What is Literacy in the Information Age"

As with other literacies, not having computer literacy is like a guilty secret. And having it is a distinction. I worry that, rather than it being egalitarian and democratic, internetworking reinforces social hierarchies.

How are texts (e.g., identical "texts") different when they are on-screen and when they are hard copy? Clearly, texts that are written are more valued (at least by Russ) than our oral texts. That's all screwed up, of course, because oral texts are more malleable, more negotiable, more collaborative than written texts. And I value the collaboration. . . .

-- Stan

I still think "computer literacy" is a metaphor, not literally literacy. And I think we should not confuse information on a computer with knowledge.

What about the cultural aspects of the organization of the web? In different cultures, there are different arrangements of ideas. To what extent does the organization of the web manifest a U. S. Corporatist agenda? To what extent are we all being brainwashed, including the young people playing video games?

If teaching goes on-line we had better be very clear about what we are teaching and clear about how we are teaching (and sure that these are the best ways) or we will be usurped be a bigger voice in the web, a bigger font print.

Still, it seems a benign information universe to me. As long as I have access to the software and hardware and all or most of the tricks to how to use it. But I don't, and expect that I never will, and this is only partly because I don't have the money to keep up -- I don't want to un-learn, abandon highly intricate systems I've been using. I'm an archivist, at heart.

-- Lynn

Am I allowed to not know, not care, sometimes even ignore technological change or does that make me a bad, irresponsible teacher?

I'm wondering how abstract representations of the place of the teacher and student in the academy are experienced by each of us -- do we do enough self-referencing. I think of Roberta Lee's Joyce -- did she experience her education as marginalizing and disempowering? We may see discomfort in learning in order to avoid the passive empathy that was described -- I think this passive empathy was attributed to instructors -- if we think it productive to experience discomfort ourselves, is this not also productive for students?

How can we talk about collaboration on line -- with strangers. As Andrea points out and as Baardman, Sadowy, Atkinson & Straw point out, a major contributor to collaboration is TRUST. How can you trust someone you've only met virtually enough to collaborate with them?

-- Stan

The development of internet technologies is fascinating. I'm thinking of the connection between genre theories and internet technologies. If genre has it social component in that it evolves out of recurrent rhetorical situations, and responses to those situations, where is the social component in internet technologies?

Can "community" ever happen w/o F2F? Amanda and Janice talked about the value of that component. Inshedders meet F2F once a year. Is an internet community ever quite like that which involves F2F?

When we start to understand texts as being composed of database elements rather than as narrative, how will our culture change?

-- Marcy

Not everyone has the conceptual models in place to make sense of the basic operations of internet behavior -- the "genre" if you like. But in a distance ed environment -- how do we know what students know or don't know? So much is learned by apprenticeship: looking over shoulders, as it were. A distance environment can only work when enough of that is already in place to let people get started.

-- Doug

Do these technologies seem to universalize English and technology genres -- which are in fact distinct & culturally specific -- will we create more categories of have-nots, don't knowers & under-privileged illiterates -- I wonder who will be able to keep up with the level of consumption required to participate as a functioning elite -- I don't even know what Napster does myself.

On Diana and Doug Brent's "Technologies of Resistance / Resisting Technology: Braille, Computers, and Literacy for the Visually Impaired"

When I read Ong and Havelock I was highly engaged with the ideas, but I also feel distanced from the source . . . today, listening to the Brents all that theory came alive in a most powerful way.

Jesus, what a powerful juxtaposition. When you think of the way in which the interface between technology, literacy and thinking is dramatized by this, it makes you want even more to make as sure as you can that nobody gets left without this amazing tool. As someone who's spent most of my career arguing that literacy is the single most important tool human beings have ever developed, I was amazed to realize how strongly that has been, and is, a purely technological revolution. . . . Oh, yes, resistance. I bet there are blind kids who resist Braille -- like my students resisting computer literacy. How do you help them without overpowering them? Eat your broccoli, it's good for you.

-- Russ

I also wonder if, given what Andrea spoke about "style" as a verb -- are we perhaps not moving away from some of the sequential logic of literacy as Ong describes it, into a multimodal world, to capture Marcy's words.

On Yaying Zhang's "To Resist or Not to Resist: A Question for Second Language Learners"

Your question -- the ESL students might successfully resist -- is interesting but I wonder how it would work, given the rewards for compliance?

All of us who teach English / Writing / Language can benefit from your perspective. We struggle to "help" second language learners when what we may need to do is be more empathetic. Few of us have learned a second language (or at least not well enough to develop a "critical" stance in it). Even fewer have tried to live, work & communicate in a unfamiliar culture. We need not only empathy for our second language learners, we need to test & understand our own cultural assumptions in the classroom. Than you for beginning that process!

I'm wondering if resistance is what's needed to engage in an academic discourse community.

-- Shurli

There are as many real "other cultures" as Asian, middle eastern, etc. For example, most heterosexual men and women think that gay men are "merely" men who are gay. [WRONG!] They grow up differently -- resisting if you will the day-to-day heterosexual gestures in our society. . . . society makes it very clear that gay strategies are unacceptable (just as Yaying's essay on Laurence was unacceptable) and partly because they have never seen gay strategies -- either in writing or in criticism -- played out for them.

-- Stan

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